Goose management pilot extension

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Licensed greylag goose shooting is to be extended until 16 April on Lewis and Harris.

The extension will help volunteer hunters to meet the Lewis and Harris goose management pilot’s agreed cull target for 2016.

The pilot aims to reduce agricultural damage crofters and farmers experience by reducing the size of the greylag goose population in a controlled and co-ordinated manner.

The shooting period was due to finish on 31 March 2016, however Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has licensed an extension after a request from volunteer hunters.

The extension applies only those hunters registered with the management pilot. Each one carries a card that identifies them as participating in the scheme. Licences for the prevention of agricultural damage are available to others from SNH upon application.

Goose hunters will avoid areas where shooting may cause disturbance or distress due to the current lambing period, as the safety of people and livestock is critical to the success of the pilot.

No shooting will be allowed of geese on or near a nest, due to welfare considerations. Instead a licence may be issued to anyone who is interested in undertaking egg oiling as part of the scheme.

The management pilot, now in its second year, has been developed by a local goose management group with support from SNH and the Scottish Government’s Rural Inspections and Payments Department.

The aim is to minimise the agricultural damage being experienced by crofters and farmers, by establishing a more sustainable goose population.